John Timpson and Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst

The unique Timpson on Breadalbane Eco Garden Charitable Trust was officially launched by Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst in Havelock North on 15th October.

“This is visionary,” said the Hastings Mayor as she was given a tour of the quarter acre garden bursting with fruits, vegetables and flowers.

“And setting it up as a trust for the future of the community is tremendously inspired.”

Timpson on Breadalbane is the dream come true of Havelock North gardener, John Timpson, who for nearly forty years has lovingly tended his section growing fruit, vegetables, flowers and trees alongside each other and practicing companion planting, shading, composting and non-chemical solutions to any issues such as bugs. 

Now getting older and with no offspring,  John is developing the garden into an education and community facility that will go on in perpetuity as an asset for the local community.

The Timpson on Breadalbane Eco Charitable Trust has been established with support from the Guthrie Smith Trust and its chair David Allan, who is also one of Timpson on Breadalbane’s five trustees. 

The project is also supported by research from Waikato University which confirmed  in 2020 that the Breadalbane property “is as an exemplar of how a typical quarter acre residential section within an urban area can be sustainable, or at the very least, utilized to grow and produce year-round crops.”

Waikato researchers Katherine Edwards and Dr Silvia Serrao-Nuemann went on to suggest that the unique nature of the Breadalbane project means it could create a space where community members, educational groups or keen enthusiasts could get together and learn about sustainable living practices, food connections or gardening techniques.   

“Simultaneously, this project would promote education, recreation, wellbeing and outdoor activities to the people of the local Havelock North community.”

After officially launching the Charitable Trust on Sunday, Mayor Hazlehurst walked through the beautifully crafted garden bursting with vegetables and trees such as varieties of avocados, bananas, feijoas, hazelnuts, plum, peach, walnut and olives. The trees have been creatively pruned to provide shade as well as fruit. Sheep’s wool mulches ground crops like asparagus and strawberries while roses, hydrangeas marigolds, bougainvillea, white kaka beak, gladioli and much more give the garden colour and diversity.

In the vegetable garden,  Mayor Hazlehurst  planted two seedlings into a newly-developed “hügelkultur” raised bed.  

John Timpson explained how Hügelkultur is a centuries-old, traditional Eastern European and German way of building a garden bed from rotten logs and plant debris topped with compost and soil. “It’s a great way to grow plants and get rid of fallen trees and branches on your property.”

Timpson, a former officer in the NZ Army, studied Economics at Canterbury University and has taught Economics in local Hawke’s Bay schools. He grew up  by the railway line at Hawkins (see Rata Lovell Smith’s painting Hawkins 1933) near Darfield in the South Island and says he has always been grounded in the land and understood its importance as a place of nurture for our mental and physical health. 

John watched his parents organically grow fruits and vegetables by the railway line at Hawkins and says Timpson on Breadalbane is a “Memorial” to his parents and the way they grew food letting nature do the work, using crop rotation and applying natural materials like composted cow and fowl manure. 

“On Christmas morning as a child I can remember a steady stream of people arriving to pick up new potatoes, green peas and strawberries. My parents were totally organic gardeners.

“Now Timpson on Breadalbane is my happy place and I want to share it,” says John.

“We have to green the planet and green urban areas and that’s why I wanted 

to set up the Trust, so when I am gone, it is used for something useful.” 

The Timpson on Breadalbane Eco Garden is now open 1- 4pm on Sundays at 39 Breadalbane Road for viewings and to talk with John and/or volunteers about the garden.

For more information Contact John Timpson    

Phone 877 6678


Join the Conversation


  1. All these years, John has been a loyal supporter of Birdwoods and to read this makes the heart warm. We never knew!! What a legacy he will leave and how lucky are we to have him in our community inspiring others to do the same.

  2. What a wonderful labour of love. A great example of what we can do on a small slice of papatuanuku. This is a real gift to the community showing how we can become more self reliant and food secure these times of uncertainty.

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